Day 329: Braised Lamb Shanks


A tiring day. Cooked brunch for 25 at an event that combined yoga class with vegetarian appetizers – a sort of class/sit down brunch for which I made a lot of things, one of them veggie samosas. A wonderful Indian cook – Tahera Rawji – taught me the easy, cheater’s way to make samosas – using frozen hash browns. If it’s good enough for a real Indian cook and cooking teacher – a cookbook author even – it’s good enough for me. I’m sorry I don’t have a photo – since it was during the day I didn’t think to bring my camera. (So it wasn’t really dinner, either. Although it was the most substantial thing I ate closest to dinnertime.)

Then at 5 I made dinner for 12 at the home of the guy who was the highest bidder on a private in-home cooking class/dinner I had contributed to a silent auction – you may have read about our fundraiser earlier this year for Nicole Pageau, an Edmonton woman in her 60s who was so moved by the plight of widows and orphans of the Rwandan genocide that she up and moved to Rwanda and built a village. (If you’re ever looking for a charitable cause, her organization is doing a stellar job over there.) He paid big bucks for it, so I was happy to go make mushroom crostini with rosemary and asiago, curried roasted butternut squash soup with apples, braised lamb shanks, lemon-Parmesan risotto, roasted asparagus, creme brulee and espresso truffles.

Am very tired. Not much looking forward to getting up in less than six hours, although I learned there will be some strapping young Stampeders to feed in the studio tomorrow morning. Did I say I didn’t like football?

Lamb shanks are one of the most richly flavored cuts of meat you can buy. Choose the largest shanks you can find – about a pound or so each – because the smaller ones are mostly bone. Lamb shanks have a lot of connective tissue, so braising is the best cooking method.


Braised Lamb Shanks

Recipe link


November 24, 2008


all-purpose flour

salt and pepper

6 lamb shanks, trimmed of any excess fat

canola or olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped or thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, crushed or left whole

1 small can tomato paste

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary and/or thyme

1 bay leaf

2 cups dry red wine

1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

3 cups chicken or beef stock, or some of each


1Season the flour with salt and pepper, and toss the lamb shanks in it to coat them well. Heat half the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat and brown the lamb on all sides, working in batches so the pan isn’t crowded. As you brown the shanks, place them in a roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 325°F.


3Add the remaining oil to the skillet and sauté the onions, celery, and carrots for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, tomato paste, rosemary, bay leaf, and pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes.


5Add the wine, vinegar, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the stock and bring it to a boil. Pour over the lamb shanks in the roasting pan and cover tightly with a lid or with foil.


7Bake for an hour, then remove the lid and cook for another 2-2 1/2 hours, turning the lamb shanks every half hour or so, until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.


9Remove the lamb from the sauce and strain as much fat from it as you can. If you like, strain out the vegetables and purée them in a blender or food processor, then return the purée to the pot to thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the lamb shanks topped with the sauce, with mashed potatoes or creamy risotto


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8 comments on “Day 329: Braised Lamb Shanks

  1. elektra
    November 25, 2008 at 7:25 am

    julie, you are one hard working individual.

  2. Fiona
    November 25, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Ah, thanks for the samosa recipe. I have a half a package of phyllo sitting in my fridge, all the spices, and a massive bag of hash browns in my freezer. I’m going for it. They sound delicious.

  3. A
    November 25, 2008 at 10:51 am

    You know how much I like samosas! you want to live with me?

  4. Barb
    November 25, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Looks awesome. I hope they gave you a huge tip.

  5. Pat
    November 25, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks so much for the samosa recipe. My son had an “incident” last year while deep frying samosas, so I’m really looking forward to making him some using the recipe you posted.

  6. Angie Younce
    November 25, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Oh, my goodness, these look so good. DH is going to love these (so will I!)

    Neat blog concept, by the way. I’m bummed it took me until day 329 to find you!

  7. Natalie
    November 26, 2008 at 6:13 am

    I am SOOO going to make those samosas!!! They sound absolutely fabulous. What would be a nice homemade sauce to go with it? Or, where do I get Mango chutney? I am really excited to try this one!

  8. korey
    May 31, 2009 at 10:40 am

    HI Julie!
    I would love to use the samosa recipe for my newsletter. It is about wonton wrappers and the things you can do with them. I have my dumpling recipe, seafood ravioli & think this would be great as well. What do you think?

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